New Year's Eve, 1979

I was a very late bloomer socially.  It wasn’t until I was a high school senior that I started attending parties on a semi-regular basis.  I was basically your boring good boy.  I was a scholar and an athlete, the latter which was very important to me and getting caught for any training violations getting me kicked off teams I worked so hard to get on, that would have been devastating to me.  Even though I didn’t drink, I would attend a social gathering around the bonfire out in the middle of nowhere from time to time or on occasion at a friends house whose parents were out for the evening.  My little bit of teenage rebellion in me I suppose.
 
I had a few “dates” in that time mostly impromptu type things were I would find myself with alone with a girl after everyone else coupled off.  Often times there would a kiss received and given, my first by an “older” woman of 14 when I was 12 years old, but that’s not what this story is.
 
No this story is about my first New Year’s Eve kiss.
 
Like all the previous New Year’s Eves in my life up to that time, I had no intention of doing much of anything that night except going to bed on the 31st and waking up and it would be a new year.  I was a member of the varsity basketball team, getting my fair share of playing time as a Senior in high school.  Going out on New Year’s Eve and getting caught at a party just didn’t appeal to me.
 
But when my best friend called me about 7:00 that New Year’s Eve night and said he was coming by to pick me up to go to a party, I threw caution to the wind and said why not.  He picked me up about 8:30 that night with the reminder from my parents of my curfew that my basketball coach was also going to enforce, an extended hour from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m.  Coach earlier that day in basketball practice stressed we all had better be by our phones to get that check up call by him then.  I took the man for his word.  He said we could go out and have a good time, but no drinking (that usually fell on some team member’s deaf ears) and to behave ourselves.  He also had “waived” the no party rule, we could go to a party as long as we weren’t drinking.
 
So with that in mind like I said I threw caution to the wind and said sure I’ll go some party.
 
When my friend Jeff picked me up, I naturally assumed we would be heading to town for some gathering.  When we left my yard though, we headed north and I became nervous.  Heading north wasn’t a good sign as anything that occurred up north usually ended badly in fights and police calls.  I told Jeff I couldn’t be getting mixed up with anything like that, not tonight where there were sure to be something negative going on.  But he just grinned and said, “we ain’t going there” and he kept driving.  It was a short drive and I was a bit relieved when about three miles up the road we turned into a neighbors place.  The large farmyard was packed with vehicles and then I understood this was going to be THE New Year’s Eve party to be at.  I’d been to that place many times in my life, every school day the bus I rode picked up and dropped those kids off, I had spent more than a few lazy summer afternoons playing baseball with the boys from that farm after I’d ride my bike to their place.  What I’d never seen before were all the vehicles that lined the long driveway to their place and the cars parked everywhere in that farmyard. 
 
After we found a parking spot near their grain bins (they had did a nice job of clearing all the snow out for this occasion) about 700 feet from the house, my mind started to wander as Jeff and I made our trek in the cold night air towards the distant sound of music coming from the good sized ranch house.  I had heard about New Year’s Eve parties and the midnight-kiss at the stroke of twelve.  I guess I always assumed dates or whatever significant other one might have at that time made those kisses.  I thought I was going to look awfully awkward come midnight looking on as all these couples started kissing.  I almost told Jeff I had changed my mind and that maybe I should just go home, I’d take his car home and he could hitch a ride back to my place to pick it up after he left the party.
 
But I didn’t, I made my way closer to the house and you could see through the windows all the people milling around in the building.  We open the door and the muffled music now clear and the din of dozens of conversations were all mixed up one couldn’t make out anything.  As soon as I walked in the door, somebody handed me a plastic cup, obviously for one of the kegs that had been brought in for the festivities.  I just smiled and said no thank you I had brought along my own beverage of a couple cans of Coke. 
 
The main floor was crowded as far as I could see, so I made my way downstairs to the basement which was equally crowded, but knowing my way around the place, I headed towards the opposite end of where I was because I knew they had a couple of beat up old couches there.  I figured eventually during the course of the evening I would get a chance to plant myself on an opening that would eventually come up on one of those couches.  While I threaded my way through the crowd of people, I would get “look whose here” and “I’ll be damned you come out of your cave”.  I’d stop and talk a little with everybody.  Almost everybody from high school was there along with kids I recognized from other schools. There were also some “older” people there, in their early 20’s who decided this party was a better place to be than one of the bars in town.  Mixed in too were total strangers, people I’d never seen around before and I wondered whom they came with.  The age range then ran from the youngest of thirteen years old to the oldest maybe being around 23.  A good estimate of how many people were packed in that house was about 150 bodies.  It was hot, it was loud, it was exciting.
 
It took me about an hour to get to my destination to the side of the basement where those couches sat and I was having a pretty good time.  I declined more than one offer of a beer or some other libation that somebody had obtained through a favorite bootlegger OR in some cases at a busy New Year’s Eve night off-sale in town where ID’s were overlooked for that evening.  I was nursing my warm Coke’s and that was enough for me.
 
I finally get to my intended destination and decided this was where I was going to spend the evening.  Instead of trying to negotiate all those bodies milling around, I figured those that wanted to see me would find me here.  It didn’t take long before I was engaged in some kind of talk with everybody that passed me.  During that time I noticed this pretty girl, a stranger, looking my way from time to time, one time when our eyes caught she smiled and I’m sure I smiled too.  She was definitely high school but not from an area school, I didn’t think anyway. I asked one of my friends who she was and they didn’t know.  The glancing across to one another went on for some time and I noticed she was slowly making her way towards me, she was always stopping to talk with someone as the pretty brunette with the big brown eyes made her way through the crowd.  After about an hour she was finally by me but talking with someone else.  When that person left she turned to me and said, “Hi”.  Immediately I offered her the spot I had occupied on the couch, but she said no thank you.  I felt a little self-conscious sitting there so I vacated my spot and stood up and we found ourselves a couple empty spots along the wall and we talked.  Her name would turn out to be Jackie and that she was from a town two hours from here.  She had come to the party with Scott one of my fellow teammates on the basketball team, they had known each other forever through their parents.  I was a little disheartened in hearing that as in the back of my mind, a midnight kiss with her had been brewing.  We had a nice talk going then she said she had to excuse herself for a moment, but she’d be back later.  I thought great ok, she was nice to talk too and was one of the girls there that wasn’t getting to drunk, she said she didn’t drink much and that the wine cooler she had was only the second one she had all night.  It was getting near 11:30 and I once again found a vacated seat on the couch.  I continued to make small talk with the people around me and was formulating some kind of plan on what to do at midnight.  I thought maybe finding a bathroom would be a nice place to be at that time.  Just when I got up and I was about to leave, Jackie made a re-appearance by me where I was standing.  I saw by her small watch it was about five minutes to midnight.  I was then expecting Scott to find his way over this way at any time too after all this was his New Year’s Eve date and he was probably expecting that midnight kiss from Jackie.  Then somebody shouted out “90 seconds to midnight” and I felt my heart start to flutter a little, as Jackie smiled at me again.  There wasn’t anything being said between us and I was to say the least a little nervous, sensing something was about to happen, but not sure what it was.  A countdown started then when somebody shouted “20 seconds” and in unison the crowd started “19, 18, 17, 16” I found myself whispering the numbers, “12, 11, 10, 9, 8” Jackie turned to me, again smiling, “5, 4, 3, 2, 1” the bright lights went out leaving only the blue Christmas bulbs illuminating the basement, the “Happy New Year’s” being shouted and I was amazed when I found the sweetest softest lips of Jackie’s on mine in a midnight kiss.  When we broke that kiss my head was spinning by the total unexpectedness of it and along with the smile she was giving me, it was like I had died and gone to heaven. 
 
I received a few more New Year’s kisses along with hugs that evening from a few other girls from my school, but really none of them compared to what I got at the stroke of midnight from that pretty brown-eyed brunette.  I know before I left that night, Jackie and I exchanged phone numbers and there would be a few phone calls made in the coming weeks, but because of the distance nothing ever did develop between us.  But it’s one of those memories I’ll hang onto forever, that New Year’s Eve Party of 1979. 
ChevyVan ChevyVan
46-50, M
1 Response May 20, 2012

For one reason or another, even after having been married for ten years, I've never had a midnight kiss on New Year's Eve. I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience and I thank you for sharing it. :)

That just doesn't sound right ... no New Year's Eve kiss even when married ... maybe this year :)

Very seriously doubtful. I'm not married anymore. :) Gee, can you guess why?